EFECaracas

A government raid on a warehouse in western Venezuela has resulted in the confiscation of more than 1.5 million diapers along with over 360 tonnes of detergent and thousands of pounds of food which were being illegally hoarded.

Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza said on state television Monday that during the raid, 1,523,776 diapers, 360 tonnes of detergent powder, as well as conditioners, razors and towels, were found.

In the warehouse, situated in Zulia province, there were also 15,000 units with thousands of liters (gallons) of infant milk substitute, 17,076 kilograms (37,646 pounds) of beans, 11,176 liters (2,952 gallons) of milk, 40,250 kilograms(88,736 pounds) of maize flour and 30,000 kilograms (66,139 pounds) of rice, Arreaza said.

They also found sanitary napkins, shampoos of different brands, soap powder, toothpastes, batteries, napkins, food supplements, milk powder, salsas and pet food.

Vice-President of Food Security and Sovereignty Carlos Osorio said that the products were being hoarded so as to boycott the economy.

"We find products that have been stored since September and November," Osorio said.

The Venezuelan government over the past months has been fighting a scarcity of basic goods in the country which it attributes to an economic war by private firms and the opposition which it accuses of hoarding.

In Venezuela, which imports most of its consumer goods, the government subsidizes basics such as milk, chicken, coffee and flour.

Subsidized products such as these are the first to disappear off supermarket shelves.

The government has pushed a number of plans to fight smuggling operations and has, for example, closed roads bordering Colombia at night and increased the military presence in border areas.